Whether you’re young or old, incubating and hatching chicken eggs is a process that fascinates people of all ages. Watching a baby chick emerge from an egg is one of the most wondrous things you can experience. Luckily, with modern technology it’s easier than ever to incubate and hatch chicken eggs.
What You’ll Need
There are a few things you’ll need before you watch this miracle unravel. First, you’ll need some chicken eggs. You can’t use the ones in your fridge for this type of activity. You need fertile eggs that haven’t been gotten too cold. You can get fertile chicken eggs from a farm that has chickens or from an agriculture supply store.
In addition to the eggs, you’ll also need an incubator, or a padded crate and a heat light. You’ll need to have the incubator somewhere near an electrical outlet that is protected from the elements. Your incubator should be equipped with a thermometer, but if not, you’ll want one of those too. A hygrometer is also helpful.
Finally, you’ll also need some food for the baby chicks once they hatch. Baby chickens eat a feed mash that you can purchase at an agriculture supply store. You should not attempt to feed baby chicks the same food you would feed your adult chickens!
The Basic Process
Incubating eggs is really a simply process. You want to do your best to mimic the conditions underneath the mother bird. To do this, simply place your fertilized eggs in the incubator and mark one side with an x. You’ll want to keep track of the x and turn your eggs 3 times a day in the beginning of the incubation process. Also, you will need to keep a cup of water in the incubator to ensure there is sufficient moisture. A hygrometer is helpful to read the humidity and know whether or not you have enough moisture in the air.
Turning the eggs mimics the actions of the mother hen. Adding moisture also creates an atmosphere similar to that of underneath the mother. Even with the ideal conditions, you should expect no more than 75% of your eggs to hatch. For this reason, it’s good to put more eggs in the incubator than the number of chicks you would like to create.
After roughly 21 days, your chicks should begin to peck their way out of the shells. Watch for sings of distress to know if you need to assist any of the birds. Avoid turning the eggs during the last few days of incubating.
Incubating and hatching chickens can be fun and entertaining. The sense of accomplishment after putting in the time and effort to raise your chicks from eggs will be more rewarding than you ever thought possible.